The Zoning Board of Appeals allowed The Chicago Tabernacle more time for its application of a special use permit in their attempts to purchase The Portage Theater. Here’s the statement from Alderman John Arena in its entirety:
At the request of the Chicago Tabernacle Church, the Zoning Board of Appeals today granted a continuance on the church’s application for a special use permit to operate the Portage Theater as a house of worship. The date is not yet certain.
I vigorously opposed the continuance. Because of restrictions on liquor and entertainment uses near a church, four separate projects are awaiting the a decision on this request before they will proceed. I’ll keep you informed of further developments in the process.
The upside of the deferral is that we can continue to organize within our communities to inform the Zoning Board of Appeals of the detrimental impact this special use would have on the heart of our redeveloping business district.
I’ll continue to work with the church on finding an alternative location for their services. My goal from the beginning has been to find a solution that works for the community and the church. We welcome them to the community, but not at the Portage Theater.
Thank you for your continued support of this community treasure.
In some ways, this doesn’t help Chicago Tabernacle. Portage Theater supporters have not only shown up in large numbers, they’ve been growing locally, nationally and internationally. The cause of saving The Portage will only grow at this point, and the recent granting of preliminary landmark consideration will only help.
The Chicago Tabernacle hasn’t come up with any viable counter to all this, other than the assurance that they have choir entertainment that will be open to the public. It’s time for the church to simply accept another location and be done with this.